A Subtle False Doctrine (1 Timothy 1:4)

When we think of false doctrine, certain things come to mind:

  1. Faith healers
  2. Cult groups
  3. Works Salvation
  4. Or Doctrinal error

While this is true, 1 Timothy is very helpful in pointing out the more subtle forms of false doctrine that are in churches, and individuals hold to. Paul focuses on two specific characteristics of subtle false doctrine.

  • It’s about man instead of God (1 Timothy 1:3-7)
  • It is based on good works, or “rules” (1 Timothy 1:8-11)

One specific attribute of false doctrine it’s based on mans opinions instead of Gods Word (1:4). Paul was specifically referring in this passage to those who taught works salvation. But sadly many beliefs that cannot be found in Scripture are held because teachers or preachers share mans opinion instead of God’s word.

In a way this kind of teaching does more damage than false doctrine because we notice when someone teaches something like works Salvation. But it’s difficult to notice when someone preaches their own opinions:

  1. By taking Scripture out of context
  2. By spending ten minutes in Scripture, and a half hour telling funny stories
  3. By adapting messages to the needs of the people (how to have a successful marriage)
  4. By giving the people what they want to hear (always talking about God’s love)
  5. Or by focusing on entertainment/engagement instead of explaining the text

The problem with this teaching is individuals will hold to, and build their life upon beliefs that cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. So instead of using the bible to defend their beliefs, they use emotion, personal interpretation, or their on experiences.

As a missionary I’ve had to break fellowship in recent years with Baptist churches in SVG because of their false doctrine. The thing is that false doctrine didn’t arrive overnight, instead it crept in quietly over time as men preached their own opinion instead of God’s truth.

May we vigilantly fight against the major forms of false doctrine, and the one that creeps in quietly

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